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Feb. 17, 2023

Ep.219 w/ Brian Dwyer-President of REA "Discussing the current auction landscape"

Ep.219 w/ Brian Dwyer-President of REA

Brian Dwyer has earned his way up the hobby ranks as a collector, dealer, worked at SGC and now serves as President of Robert Edward Auctions. We learn about his trajectory, the many great cards he's handled and one he like to add to that list....

Brian Dwyer has earned his way up the hobby ranks as a collector, dealer, worked at SGC and now serves as President of Robert Edward Auctions. We learn about his trajectory, the many great cards he's handled and one he like to add to that list.

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Real excited to talk to the next Gentleman on the sports card shop guest line uh they're the newest sponsors to
sports card Nation as well and I don't wanna I don't want to make them wait with a long intro but the president of
Robert Edward auctions Mr Brian Dwyer welcome Brian thanks for having me John good to be here
so we got a lot you know we got a lot to talk about but it I know it's the boring
kind of standard podcast question but I know you got your start like me very young I believe you were you were six
kind of talk about your your you know your journey uh into the hobby where it
started and sort of that uh timeline if you will yeah so you so you're
absolutely right my my origin is not too dissimilar from a lot of people that are in this hobby I got my first pack of
baseball cards as a six-year-old and I opened them up and for some reason uh thankfully I just became enamored with
them and so my parents kept feeding that Obsession and it became baseball cards became a very logical natural gift for
me to get at birthdays or Christmas or special occasions and so you know as a very young child I was getting tops
cards I was building sets I was sorting them by name and player and team and uh
it was about when I was 12 years old that I got my first taste of vintage my dad was in an antique shop and found
some early 50s Bowman Brooklyn Dodger cards and he picked him up and he brought them home and that just kind of
set the wheels in motion about who were these guys why are they why do they look so different than the cards that I'm
collecting here in the 90s and uh and that really kind of started me on this
path towards vintage where I've been you know for the last 25 years or so so
um very innocuous start got a pack of baseball cards probably keep me quiet as a six-year-old and here we are
yeah no doubt and Amanda after my own heart with vintage you you know we all
know there's obvious reasons uh well I like it it's just uh you know it's harder to find obviously and uh you know
with different uh generations of ball players and it's something that you know as a dealer I still set up at shows and
I do have modern but when it comes to like my PC you're definitely going to see a lot more Advantage there than than
that and uh for for obvious reasons so I know you worked at uh SGC before uh you
know heading to the the auction uh House Route uh you know what did your time at
SD I mean was it a good primer for what you do now was it a good segue
absolutely I consider SGC to be the best experience I've had in my professional career I mean I I started there as an
intern I actually got college credit for working at SGC which uh was amazing I
was very lucky to go to school only about 20 minutes from their headquarters and it was a crash course on everything
hobby related you know these grading companies they're grading Donruss they're grading Pokemon they're grading
t206 Wagners so I got to see a little bit of everything I got to meet dealers
I got to meet collectors I was fortunate enough to travel to trade shows in the US and Canada with SGC during my time
there and so uh you know I spent about three three and a half years there
learning the ins and outs of the grading world and and I loved it and I missed the buying and the selling which is how
I ended up going the auction house route you know when you work for these authentication companies there's limits
that are placed on how you can buy and sell obviously because you're supposed to be a neutral Arbiter but but yeah
absolutely invaluable still do a lot of business with SGC to this day and I think they're a great company and and I
look back fondly on my time there yep and and obviously right now you're
you're the president of Rea talk about kind of your your you had a similar uh
start day it kind of started and worked your way up into the position obviously uh you're in now you know if you want to
go through that yeah absolutely so when I left SGC I did so because like I said
I missed that buying and selling I was very active on eBay when I was in high school and college I love the idea as a
kid growing up in Upstate New York I could buy and sell with guys in Florida or California or you know Texas whatever
and so I I really wanted to scratch that itch and this was 2010 and at that time
there really were only two options if you wanted to sell cards you could do it yourself on eBay or you could go to
these big auction houses that produce these big large catalogs and they catered to ten thousand dollar and
hundred thousand dollar cards and so I looked at the landscape and I said there's nobody that's really offering
The Best of Both Worlds there's no one that's providing an auction house experience to people with 500 or a
thousand dollar cards or even 100 cards cards and so I started a company that uh
did just that you could consign your cards you could have that Auction House experience you could have the
presentation and we started everything at ten dollars and so we'd have items that went for you know 12 15 bucks and
then we'd have items that went for fifty thousand dollars and I did that for about a year and a half until I caught
the attention of the founder of Robert Edward auctions and at that point in time they were doing one auction a year
they had two employees one auction a year and uh he he wanted to expand and
he saw the writing on the wall that one auction a year wasn't sustainable and I
tell people I had a very good thing going with my own company but it was like the Yankees called and they said
hey we're playing the Red Sox tomorrow we need you to start in center field do you do you want to join and here I am
playing minor league ball and so I jumped at the opportunity and I sold my company which actually still operates to
this day under that new ownership and I came to work for rea and that was 2012.
I started um as an Acquisitions director I was responsible for bringing in material I
did a lot of operational processing writing for the company at that time and
then in 2016 I took over as president and uh hard to believe but seven years
later here I am and I love it we have 23 employees now so we're much larger than
when I joined and we're doing uh last year we did 12 auctions so really
expanding the offerings and bringing the best of Rea to as many people as possible
yeah no doubt and and like you said in in seven years uh you've grown the
company exponentially employee-wise uh offering wise more auctions uh all that
uh great stuff kudos to you uh and and your team uh as well uh you know one of
the questions I get asked and I can't really answer and and I thought about you know what other auction uh plat you
know houses and what uh how how competitive is that is is there communication uh is it you know is it
Cutthroat is it somewhere in between kind of you know you don't have to mention names per se but you know kind
of that landscape how how does you know for those that don't know and wonder uh like some people have asked me and and
I've wondered myself uh you know how how does that go yeah so look there's a lot of companies
that are holding auctions there's a lot of opportunities to consign your cards to various auction companies
um I think it is very competitive I think within our sphere of kind of close competitors we we have this friendly
rivalry right so the Hobbies small enough where we all know each other um we all want to win but at the end of
the day we're all setting up the same trade shows we're all going to the same conventions and we all have to see each
other so you know it's it's not cut throat in the sense that I don't talk to my competitors or I I speak ill of them
but at the end of the day we we all want to win and um you know we have we have
different Specialties than maybe some of our other competitors um we have tremendous relationships that that help
us draw in incredible material that maybe our competitors don't have so the fortunate thing for us is that there's a
tremendous amount of material to go around and uh you know uh just as I can speak for our business it's been growing
very steadily because of the quality and the caliber of the product and the service that we're able to offer so very
competitive landscape but I think we do a lot to differentiate ourselves and I think that uh you know that that comes
out in our results I think our results is really what earns us a lot of our business yeah no doubt we've seen you know we've
seen the market kind of you know calm down uh reset a little bit uh you know
with what's going on obviously in in macro economics yet you know at that higher end level we're still seeing
records uh be broken we're still seeing very strong sales
um obviously one of the obvious reasons is if someone's bought you know spending that kind of money they're sort of less
affected let's say to what's going on economy wise and and you know Real World
Time stuff but what else maybe attributes to that strong you know it
can't be just that I'm sure that's a big factor but what other factors is why
that some of that upper echelon is still so strong uh yeah I mean I think I think
it really comes down to Quant uh quality and availability so I think a lot of the people that are playing in that realm
understand that if you want want something that is super rare whether
it's a condition Rarity or you know just just Supply is low you have to strike
when you have the opportunity and so we're seeing items that are coming up for sale and
um you know they're they're getting record prices um because that might be the only opportunity you have and so social media
is an example of the opportunity that the industry has to kind of showcase those items and really make sure that
people are aware of these very rare items that are coming up for sale and uh and then the you know the companies and
even the collectors themselves sometimes can Trump at those numbers and uh you know I I think it really just comes down
to to opportunity people recognize that you may not have another opportunity to
get some of this material and you're going to have to strike yeah no no doubt and uh that's obviously
one of the reasons it's it's strong we've seen afraid you know the last few years we've seen fractionals kind of uh
make some headlines you know uh kind of your thoughts on that does does that hurt what you do is it really don't
affect either way like what's what's the place in the hobby for that and what's
your thoughts on it yeah so I think fractionalization actually has a home in the hobby I think it's a very
interesting um opportunity for some people who you know can't go out and write a hundred thousand dollar check or even a ten
thousand dollar check um to participate and to to claim ownership on some of these very rare and
special items as far as whether or not it affects what we do uh no I mean I think it accentuates what we do because
you're going to have potentially some collectors that are that are auction averse or risk averse and you know they
would never consign their items to an auction but they can go to a fractional platform and they can stipulate their
price they can stipulate their terms and they can have that uh that measure of security so I I think it's an exciting
time I think it's still in its infancy in our industry I think it's uh more developed in some other collectible
classes but uh no I I I like it I like the idea I like the premise
um and I'm excited to kind of see how it plays out over the next couple years yeah no doubt I've dabbled in it a
little a bit like you said it's a great opportunity probably a card I'm I'm not going to be able to afford it in full
and you know and it's just a funny sort of way bragging right say hey I own a very very small percentage of this one
of those cards is the uh well it's now off off the fracture Market but was that
uh the Baltimore News uh Babe Ruth uh uh you know that so it's just you know it's
kind of fun to say yeah you know an infinitesimal uh ownership in a in an
iconic Garden uh for that for that realm and uh you know it uh it's uh it has
it's uh a place and uh you know there's there's you know if you do it right you can even make a few bucks in in the
process if that's you know where your mind your mindset is you guys just had a great uh you know talk about winning you
guys just had a great January uh auction kind of uh you know kind of you know
recap that some of the items uh what they uh you know what they brought and
then we'll get into even the what's going on with February there's a little time left even to for those that want to
get in there their last minute beds but uh kind of recap January's auction for
for Rea which was tremendous yeah so that was our first Encore auction of the
year and for anyone that's not familiar these Encore auctions are uh held seven or eight times a year they are held in
months in which we don't have one of our Premier catalog auctions so this January auction
um had some great items in it it had a Jordan Fleer rookie and a nine that brought almost 20 000 it had a 98 Payton
PSA 10 rookie that brought over 10 000 it had a signed 52 tops maze that
brought over fifteen thousand dollars so a great high quality High Caliber items
and um what I think the encores are most known for and the thing that excites me most about them is the variety you know
you're gonna get five figure we've even had multiple six figure out items in those auctions and then you're going to
get that that uh you know 56 tops common and an eight for forty dollars that that
set builder needs so uh usually three thousand thirty five hundred lots to choose from and a tremendous variety
um the February auction like you mentioned it closes the Sunday another great auction and a lot of a lot of
highlights in it we've got a Chamberlain rookie and a seven we've got uh uh 53
mantle and a six we've got some rare back t206s we've got just a lot of good
quality mantle Ruth Garrick Jackie Robinson type cards that are available
this month so um should be should be something for everyone I mean there's tickets in there
there's photos there's autographs there's there's a wide variety of stuff yep and if you listen to this on on Show
release date Friday or soon after on Saturday uh you still got time left to
head that way and get those last minute bids and maybe uh pick up something uh
really nice you know we've seen uh we've seen the market sort of change some things you know I think I'm a little
older than you Brian I remember when I was younger you know and people got autographs on on sports cards right it
was like never have the rookie card signed you're ruining it right you're writing on the rookie card it's you know
it's it's not worth anything other than than the autograph but we've seen that sort of opinion uh change an autograph
rookie cards are a huge deal I mean there's there's a dealer at the sh at the national and and whatever other that
that's all that's in in that gentleman's uh showcases and we've seen obviously
prices of these uh reach their own astronomical marks and so what once was
sort of frowned upon now is a huge collectible Market why do you think
that's that's sort of changed I remember being younger it was always like he was a second year Carter he was another card
other than a rookie year card but obviously uh now especially on the
Vintage side uh it's it's completely you know went the other way what do you
attest to to that sort of opinion change in in the hobby yeah so I think the
hobby kind of looked at the data and realized how tough it was to get these
signed rookie cards in really high grade I mean the combination of a perfect signature on a perfect card
um is quite rare and and you know you've got even modern players like Ricky Henderson or Ken Griffey where getting a
10 10 is is is not an easy feat and so I think the hobby looked at the data and
looked at the population reports and said okay this is worthy of paying a premium and I can't replicate this
myself and not for nothing too these players are charging um considerable amount of money to sign
anything especially compared to 10 20 30 years ago I mean I grew up going to
shows in Westchester County New York and you know maybe the highest the highest fee you'd see for an autograph was
twenty dollars and now you're getting uh I saw someone say that Patrick Mahomes
is expected to come out at fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars for for his signing
um so you know I think the Hobbies looking at this and saying okay it's the
the rookie cards have appreciated in value the players have wised up they're charging more for their signature and
then the combination tough to replicate so it's it's worthy of a premium
yeah no doubt it's it's something you know you forget about but you made a great point with you know what these
athletes charge you know for appearing uh at a show or private signing even and
putting you know their autograph on whatever you know whether it be a card or a piece of memorabilia those numbers
have have increased as as has the demand uh forum and uh like you said I I
remember those same shows right 20 30 bucks you know uh almost you know no
matter who it was the 30 40 bucks was the the bigger star in 20 bucks was the
the Lesser star if if you will and uh times are are obviously different now
like you said the players you know the athletes see what some of this stuff's going for on the secondary Market you
can't really blame them with that being the case to say Hey you know let me get a bigger piece uh of of the pie you
mentioned tickets too that's something I'm I'm starting to get into uh myself I
think it's really uh you know I don't want I don't know if undervalued the right is the right word
but I I think they're underrated for for sure because when you think you know
when you think I was I still am a sports guy I was a sports kid would go to baseball football games and right you
get you go you you know this is before now they now they're now hard copy tickets are actually few and far between
it gets kind of scan your phone but uh you know back then you had that hard
copy ticket and uh you know they either just they looked at it or ripped uh uh
uh you know a quarter section off you Crump you kind of just put it in your pocket what you got kind of to your seat
it gets all you know crumpled up later on you you know you get home and most of
the time you where's it wind up right the trash game's over you got in you saw the event and so I think a lot of these
tickets and I I'm assuming you'll agree you know a lot of these tickets don't exist they were just thrown out after
the event that's over people you know they weren't viewed in the same respect even as a trading card at least a
trading card had that in forensic value hey I could trade with my friends it has
my favorite player on it the ticket was just a ticket or means to get through
the gate to your seat and watch the event once that was over you kind of threw it away and so when you when I see
these tickets you know it's if there was 30 000 people let's say at that event how many realistic how many tickets
realistically survived that day's event so when you when it become and even if
it was like a no-hitter or something like that people still didn't know you know think that I want to save my ticket
some people uh did obviously but but uh not in the same vein we would uh today
and so I think tickets in a way are even scarcer than than cards on some levels
just because people aren't thinking of them in the same vein and so I I think
the ticket Market um I and more people I think are thinking like this because we've seen
that market get hotter and prices uh get higher in demand get higher just uh your
thoughts on on the auction side with with the ticket Market that sort of line of thinking yeah no you're 100 right I
mean I I'm I'm very similar in the fact that I would go to all these events as a kid whether they were shows or concerts
or or games and I never saved anything I mean the the memory of being at the game
was more valuable more important to me than the piece of paper that let me get in but you're right that the hobby has
started to realize and I think it goes back to what I was talking about looking at the data looking at the the the supply of these things and say you know
what these are these are not insignificant and uh and they're tough and how many of them could really exist
you know debuts have become a very hot part of our industry we sold a Mickey
Mantle debut for six figures Jackie Robinson's debut has sold for six figures uh Jordan's debut has sold six
figures and then even lesser guys you know we got nearly twenty thousand dollars for Roy Campanella and PeeWee
Reese's uh debut in our last auction so uh it's very exciting I think it reminds
people of some of these significant events that they were either at or wished they could be at
um and we're seeing it even transcend into modern you know we have in this spring auction coming up a ticket from
LeBron James's first game in Los Angeles so he goes into La as a rookie and now
20 years later he's breaking the all-time scoring record for LA or you
know with with LA so you know it's kind of an interesting full circle um ticket that I think will will really
draw a collector's attention um we've sold tickets to Wilt Chamberlain's hundred point game for for
twenty thousand dollars or or more um and you know that's something where it's an iconic event people talk about
it you see the pictures of Wilt holding the ball that says 100 and and uh how
many people really saved their tickets I mean we've seen a dozen maybe at most
um so I think they're very cool I think it's an underappreciated part of the hobby but I think it's caught a lot of
attention recently I think the uh some of these big prices really do help shine a light on it and uh yeah I mean it'll
be interesting and I think it will be interesting to see how it how it continues to evolve given that like you
said teams are not producing tickets anymore so you know people are scanning
them on their phone they're getting uh they're getting you know swiped in um and there's there's no such thing as
a hard copy ticket so uh it'll be interesting to see how that develops but I think you're right I think ticket
collecting is uh is something to keep an eye on yeah no doubt you made a great point
with like a lot of the those debut tickets right the first appearance of that Athlete on the professional uh
level in a sense they become rookie cards like an additional type of Rookie Card attached to you know you mentioned
like a manual debut ticket we all know the 51 Bowman and now you have sort of
the ticket equivalent of a 51 Bowman uh with a debut ticket it's sort of like if
I'm a mantle collector I'm gonna you know and I can add that along with a 51
Bowman I probably already hopefully own uh you know that would be uh you know
you're getting I think crossover right you get people who who maybe never had thought about even collecting tickets
like hey I would have never thought I'd be doing this and here I'm buying my
favorite player or my Idols debut ticket because it it means some you know it
means something to me to own it have it on my desk or wherever you know you might
in these ticket stubs I mean maybe full tickets You could argue might not have been at the game but you know Jackie
Robinson makes his major league debut that ticket was in the building so yeah it's a very cool uh spin on these really
iconic moments yeah I'm a Jackie Robinson guy growing up in in Brooklyn
even though you know uh I you know my dad lived in Evans field uh you know I'd
love to be a not not in the budget but uh be an item I'd love you know I always
joke if I would someone asked me to Chad if you ever won like the the Powerball or the Mega Millions what what item like
in the hobby that you can't buy now would would you put on the list and and that one would uh probably uh make it
but like you said how many of those really existed you don't even see them that often uh you know you're getting
into that single double digits I think rather than uh you know more uh with
cards where you you know a hundreds or thousands of them so it's I just think
it's a market that I think more people uh who maybe you know you have all the cards of your favorite player you have
the run but now you want some historic maybe a historical home run game the
debut ticket right you can actually start to fill in other holes so you get that sort of crossover I think uh with
that you know so we'll we'll see we'll see it's gonna be fun uh fun to watch uh
you've handled obviously some iconic uh cards just to speak to to some of those
uh that you know off the topic that stick out off the top of your your head
well I mean it's it's it's uh hard not to start with the the granddaddy of the
mall so we we sold in August of 2021 the uh the t126 honest Wagner graded of
three by SGC for what was then a world record for a sports card 6.6 million
dollars and you know the t206 Wagner obviously one of the most famous if not the most famous cards of all time it's a
card that Rea has been privileged to handle more of than anybody else currently active in the industry
um and we've set records along the way for for the t206 Wagoner when we've sold them I mean we we've been very fortunate
in that respect and it was uh very special to handle that that 6.6 million
dollar one about a year and a half ago uh Baltimore News Ruth you mentioned earlier that you had participated in the
fractional ownership I mean we've handled uh not all of them but nearly all of the ones that are known at some
point in time we've handled the more common but still not super common women Sporting News Ruth rookie you know we
sold the PSA 7 four or five years ago for six hundred thousand dollars which at the time blew away the record and now
today that would be a two and a half three million dollar card um so there's been a lot of great stuff
that's that's passed through here 86 clear Jordans we Handle by by the dozens
uh 52 mantels are always special it's a card that means a lot to me you see it over my shoulder that's a card that I
grew up idolizing um you know we we handled the the best E93 scent of all time and we broke it
last year for nearly two million dollars um and then we handle cards that people probably have never heard about but
they're they're very rare they're very cool um and and they're they're they're
special for us you know when we get that call we just recently got a call from
someone that had a trading card from the 1860s that we've never seen before so you know getting that in doing the
research getting it authenticated it's very fun we break up t206 sets all the time Gowdy sets Cracker Jack sets that
come from collectors or non-collectors so we're really fortunate that there's there's almost nothing in the trading
card world that hasn't passed through here it's funny I was going to ask you is
there something that you haven't uh you know uh auctioned or or you know been
involved with is there like uh some that stands out man I would love you know for
Rea to to offer that is there something that sticks out or not necessarily well
so I mean my my wish list right now is uh the Baltimore
News Ruth I mean I think that it's been a number of years since the Baltimore News Ruth has hit the open auction
market and I think the next one that we'll sell we'll rewrite the rewrite the record books
um so that's a card that you know I would love to have the opportunity to put up for auction there are some very
obscure cards that if I named probably nobody would ever uh even recognize but
you know as a trading card nerd I think about oh I've never handled that I've never seen that
um but you know t206 Wagners Ruth rookies um those are the ones that we want to be
involved with those are the ones that are always special and uh any grade you know we we love the opportunity
yeah you know I want to ask you you know an expert opinion if you will on on the
Baltimore News you know you hear two different people kind of talk about it you sort of get two different opinions
about how many of those uh exist uh there's some that claim you know there's
more the t206 Wagner's in existence than uh that uh yeah you know I've heard
someone else say they think there's a little bit more than sort of being advertised like where do you like
obviously it's all speculation right no one exactly knows but I mean where do
you think the the the pop count is as far as existence on a card like that
again it's it's an opinion on you know no one knows entirely for sure but what's Your Gut I guess tell you on a
card like that yeah so I mean I believe that there are fewer than a dozen Baltimore news ruths that exist we can
confirm about 10 of them um I I believe that there may be other ones that are out there lurking but then
I think back to myself uh you know 10 12 years ago we were selling that card for
four or five six hundred thousand dollars which at the time was just an unheard of amount for a baseball card
and so we were publicizing that we were getting recognition for how for how
incredible those prices were and we we didn't draw any new ones out so that's
not to say that it can't happen we've seen obviously instances like the Black Swamp find where the pop counts are
Rewritten and the Lucky Seven find with the Ty Cobb tie cop back uh for the t206
but you know I'm of the opinion that there's five or six times as many t206
Wagners as Baltimore News Ruth's that being said the Wagner benefits from the
the The Prestige and the Allure and the folklore and the notoriety
um because of how well-known it is that the Baltimore News Ruth just just doesn't have unfortunately
yeah and you make a great Point that's that's exactly what it is it's I mean the the Wagner's a car that even people
maybe not in the hobby C and kind of know that it's a significant uh item uh
where maybe the Ruth is just doesn't have that familiarity but I think like you said I think if there's going to be
a new record holder it may be a Baltimore News roof that that does it
and hopefully it's the Rea that's uh uh handling that and uh it gets it done so
I appreciate you you're giving some time sharing some of your your Insight uh
with the listeners today Brian I give all the guests uh you know take as much
time as you need uh give out website where people can see what you guys are
doing bid uh social media all that all that good stuff yeah so we're available
on all the major social media channels you can follow us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Tick Tock we are always
previewing upcoming auction items we're showing new fines we're showing some behind the scenes stuff so I think
anybody that's into the Hobby and kind of seeing how auctions are built would get a lot of enjoyment and entertainment
out of following our social channels um right now we're working on uh closing out that February auction like we spoke
about earlier that closes Sunday night at 9 00 PM so anyone that wants to pop on the website which is Robert Edward
auctions.com they can check out the 2500 plus items in February they can stay up
to date on what's coming down the pipe for March and you can get a good spot in
line for the big Blockbuster spring catalog auction so that's an auction that we're very excited about we've got
some absolutely incredible highlights in already we've got five six seven figure
cards already lined up for that auction and we're putting out a full color
catalog so six 700 page catalog for that auction so anyone that wants to go to our website it's Robert
edwardauctions.com you can bid and be view any of the auctions you can sign up
for email you can sign up for a catalog and all that's free of charge so lots of
opportunities to bid lots of opportunities to consign too if you've got anything that you want to sell uh
you know we're happy to discuss it with you we have a lot of opportunities to sell it quick we have a lot of opportunities to sell it in one of our
catalog auctions if it's a good fit so reach out however you want social media
email phone call snail mail we'll be happy to work with you well Brian uh once again thank you for
for some of your time and uh talking about uh you know chopping up a little of the Hobby and in the auction world uh
continued success I appreciate it thanks very much John thank you